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Cranes

Nagasawa Rosetsu (Japanese, 1754–1799)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
1780s
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
Image (each scroll): 61 7/16 x 35 7/8 in. (156 x 91.2 cm) Overall with mounting (each scroll): 84 x 36 3/4 in. (213.4 x 93.3 cm) Overall with knobs (each scroll): 84 x 39 1/4 in. (213.4 x 99.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Fishbein-Bender Collection, Gift of T. Richard Fishbein and Estelle P. Bender, 2011
Accession Number:
2011.572.2a, b
  • Description

    This striking diptych of hanging scrolls consists solely of three cranes—one on the right panel, two on the left—without any delineation of landscape setting. The pose of each bird varies, their bodies depicted partly in reserve within bold outlining and a gray wash. With the exception of a crest of feathers painted in brilliant red, the cranes are rendered entirely in ink. The overall effect is one of surprise and humor, as if we happened upon the group, and caught them in a moment of posing for the artist—or for us.

    Rosetsu trained under Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–1795), but was not one to toe the line and was expelled from the master’s studio. He went on to develop his own distinctive style. His ink paintings, often on animal themes, demonstrate an irreverence for convention often found in Zen ink paintings of the time.

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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